Innis & Gunn’s foray into brew-pubbing proves successful
Lothian Road’s transformation — from crapulent crawl destination to craft beer central — continues, with Edinburgh-based brewer Innis & Gunn’s first foray into brew-pubbing sitting neatly between The Red Squirrel and The Hanging Bat, in more ways than one.
With the Bat largely geared towards to the enthusiast, the Beer Kitchen offers an easier introduction into the world of the holy hop, but in more salubrious surroundings than its scuirine neighbour down the road, a move that should ensure popularity with financial district natives. Previously a cabaret bar of dubious virtues, the space has been refurbished in a comfortably familiar industrial-lux chic, complete with raised restaurant area and an eye-catching city mural. Innis & Gunn products, including the easy-drinking unpasteurised Lager Beer, share the stage with brews from near and far, with excellent beverages from Pilot and six°north available alongside offerings from Norway’s Lervig and North America’s Lagunitas.
Well-priced and well-cooked meat cuts, such as brisket and pork belly, come lightly dressed in beer-based sauces. Darn good chips are a recommended accompaniment, although an extra jug of
A tour of the city’s top food districts with local writers
Kelvinbridge is a busy cultural borderland, with academic Hillhead, cosmopolitan Woodlands and posh Kelvinside all butting together around the eponymous bridge and Subway station.
Among the fast-food outlets are a couple of gems – such as the excellent Philadelphia Fish & Chicken Bar – but it’s the selection of independent specialist shops that make Kelvinbridge a happy hunting ground for food lovers.
Roots and Fruits has been selling top-quality fresh produce in dizzying variety for forty years, and Garth Gulland’s little empire now has both a deli-café and a flower shop within the same elegant Caledonian Mansions building (as well as a branch in Finnieston). On the other side of the road, cheese specialist IJ Mellis now offers charcuterie, fresh bread and a selection of preserves alongside an extraordinary choice of artisan dairy products.
There are more rich pickings a little further into town along Great Western Road – Lupe Pinto’s for Mexican and Spanish provisions and the best selection of tequila in town, Solly’s for Afro-Caribbean staples like fresh cassava and goat
A round-up of food and drink activities and ideas over the final few weeks of Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink
It’s hard to imagine now, but before the turn of the 21st century, the idea of buying food outdoors, queuing up at market stalls and actually speaking to the folk who reared, grew, made or cooked your food was an all-but-forgotten practice in Scotland.
Thanks to the re-birth (in Perth) of the farmers’ market initiative, the inspiration of European-style markets in our city centres, and the growing awareness of the range, quality and wealth of the food and drink on our own doorstep – encouraged by initiatives such as 2015’s Year of Food & Drink – getting up close and intimate with Scottish food is something we’re increasingly comfortable doing.
The run-up to Christmas and the prospect of preparing feasts, bearing gifts and feeding loved ones has many of us on the lookout for good food with a local story. We’ve gathered together lots of information to help you source ingredients, browse for choice gifts, find hearty sustenance or embark upon food adventures with friends
Finding Food in Vietnam
Ben Turland travelled the country tasting the delicacies on offer
Vietnam was one of the places I was most excited about eating on my recent Asian adventures and it did not disappoint, so much so that I spent the first few days in Hanoi sleeping off food comas with after-lunch naps.
Vietnamese food is incredibly diverse, and whilst it shares similarities with other South East Asian countries, such as bold spicy flavours, and the complex balance of sweet, sour and salty flavours. French influences are also obvious due to the colonial history and the proximity to China can also be apparent in northern cooking. Vietnam, from my experience, is far more noodle-orientated than some of the other South East Asian countries we have visited where rice is the dominant carbohydrate.
One of the most well-known Vietnamese dishes is pho, a rich, clear meaty stock filled with rice noodles and beef, (bo) as well as spring onions, beansprouts, Thai basil and fresh chillies. Many places will also offer fresh chilli sauce on the side and lime to liven it up; it can also be served with chicken (ga). Pho
Breakfast, the best and most important meal of the day in our eyes. Here’s a taster of what different nationalities around the world east first thing to get them going for the day. There’s some pretty random shizzle in here!
Fermented soy beans are classed as a delicacy in Japan and if you can get over the pungent cheesy smell, strong flavour and slimy mucus-like texture they are very good for you. Natto is perfectly nutritious being high in fibre with zero cholesterol, which means you can have more! Mmm yummy.
Hagelslag (The Netherlands)
These popular sprinkles (translated as hailstorm) come in a variety of shapes sizes and flavours including fruit and chocolate. Not only to be enjoyed on ice cream, the Dutch and Belgians actually put them on buttered bread and toast! Not particularly nutritious but a great way to start the day on a sugar high.
Nothing beats churros and hot chocolate when falling out of a Spanish nightclub in the early hours. Similar to a long doughnut they are deep fried dough delights which you dip into thick hot chocolate. Churros contain enough sugar, fat
Gaining Weight in the Holy Land
The food in Israel is reason enough to visit the country. I’ve gained at least 3kg during my week sampling the best of what the country has to offer my tastebuds. This is actually not the easiest thing to do as the food in Israel is so healthy – fresh veggies, fruit courses, fish over meat and goat milk as standard – so really, I should be proud of myself.
Hummus masabacha / kawarma
The reason for the weight gain is easy: delicious, freshly made hummus. It’s the most prevalent dish in Israeli cuisine, and we all know what goes well with hummus right? Bread. Delicious hot pitta bread served in paper bags to keep it warm while you dip the part you tore off.
Israeli cuisine doesn’t just feature any old hummus though, you need to try the hummus masabacha. This is when it’s garnished with whole chickpeas, paprika and lemon-spiked tahini on top. Or you could try the hummus kawarma – hummus garnished with lamb mince, onions and parsley. So. Damn. Good.
The origins of falafel go way back and whichever nationality lays
Every year, we wait for their arrival. We binge for six weeks, and then it’s over—back to less festive fare. But how exactly did they arrive in our holiday spreads? Here are the origins behind a few of our favorite holiday foods.
The first-known recipe of the sweet treat is said to be from Greece in 2400 BCE. The formula was developed and remixed through several cultures and eventually made its way to England, where Queen Elizabeth I was credited with the idea of decorating the cookies. Eventually, gingerbread was consumed year-round, and the shapes changed with the seasons. The designs got so elaborate that they became a symbol of elegance, which is, perhaps, why we save them for a special time like the holidays.
2. APPLE CIDER
It’s said that Julius Caesar and friends found the British drinking cider in 55 BCE. Europeans brought the tradition to the New World, where cider was such an important beverage that the trees Johnny Appleseed was planting were actually for cider making.
In the early 20th century, the combination of improved refrigeration technology and the teetotalism movement allowed humans to drink the unfermented juice of apples, which
At Peel Farm near the village of Linrathen by Kirriemuir, an old stone bothy among the farm buildings has seen service in recent years as a farm shop, brewery and jam workshop.
It was during this latter incarnation that an elderly customer suggested infusing gin with the leftover fruits. It was the start of the Gin Bothy, which now produces a Scottish gin infused with raspberry and mulling spices. Raspberry with rhubarb and blueberry lines are set to follow, and they’re quickly shifting their business from their fellow farm shops to behind the bar in several Dundee and Edinburgh establishments.
Meanwhile, a former jute mill in Dundee is being transformed into a distillery by former Formula 1 marketing expert and graduate of Abertay University’s MProf in Food & Drink Innovation, Andrew Mackenzie. Focussing first on a cocktail gin, Verdant Spirits looks to shift from student dissertation project to Dundee’s landmark distilled spirit.
Getting the Nostalgic Munchies
It’s not only people and places you’ll miss while you’re travelling long term; food from home can seem like a distant memory. When you’re all noodled and riced out in South East Asia and thoughts of Grandma’s Yorkshire pudding Sunday lunch start infiltrating your brain, there’s nothing that can quite match up.
In some of the most popular backpacker destinations local entrepreneurs have cottoned onto this and set up special British import food shops, but they’re never quite the same. A Cadbury’s Dairy Milk that’s travelled halfway around the world and sat in a sweaty shop for a few weeks is not going to be the same as one from your local Londis.
There’s just no getting around it, except for the thought that coming back to those familiar treats will be one of the few things that will soften the blow of coming home.
Here are the foods the gapyear.com community say they miss most.
1. Full English Breakfast
Andrew 1990 says his most missed food is a full English breakfast complete with hash browns. A full English is a pretty simple concept to us Brits, but
Dundee Heritage Trust launches RRS Discovery
As an independent charitable museum trust, Dundee Heritage Trust is always looking for innovative funding streams, and in 2014 Operations Director Mark Munsie created an ale under the RRS Discovery ‘Smoked in History’ label. Brewed in collaboration with Alechemy Ales in Livingston and BrewDog Dundee, it was made using wood from the ship removed during a recent restoration.
A dark, porter-style beer with flavours of chocolate, amber and coffee, it’s available at Discovery Point Museum and at BrewDog Dundee. Also available is Discovery Whisky, a 12-year-old single malt in a jute bag stamped with the mark of the 1901 British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Scott.
Top chefs, restaurants and foodies come together to celebrate the best in gastronomy
After a successful debut in 2014, the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival (organised by This Is Edinburgh) will once more take over the city this October, showcasing the diverse range of food available in the capital. Restaurants across Edinburgh will offer hungry customers £15 lunches and £25 dinners (per person for three courses). Eateries taking part include Tower Restaurant, Prestonfield House, Contini Ristorante, No. 8 Lister Square, Kyloe and Cucina.
Launching the festival is Chef’s Table, an event that sees three of Edinburgh’s top chefs work together to create a meal that captures what the capital has to offer. Taking place at the Hub on the Royal Mile, tickets cost £25 and attendees will get the opportunity to speak to the culinary connoisseurs about their creations afterwards.
Plenty of other events will take place across the capital during the gastronomical celebration. On 10 Oct, the Grassmarket will transform into a family-friendly foodie haven, providing tasters, demonstrations, classes and early evening music. Eat Walk Edinburgh will return with their food tours, allowing diners to sample five tasting plates in some of the city’s finest restaurants
Deciding which bars to go to on your office night out can be tricky. Luckily, Glasgow has plenty of options to keep your co-workers satisfied.
Glasgow is rich pickings for boozing dens, and come December every corner of the city is beckoning your festive custom. If you’re headed east, Drygate should have a beer to keep everyone happy with 24 taps and 200 bottles served in the Beerhall. A visit to the recently opened Saint Luke’s means you can drink in a converted church while West Brewery allows you to celebrate Christmas Bavarian style, stein and pretzel in hand.
Staying central, the Howlin’ Wolf offers original cocktails, world beer and a towering gantry of spirits – with the added bonus of a 3am licence. Max’s has an impressive selection of draft beer, cocktails and house spirits, with La Cheetah club waiting for you in the basement. If you’re looking for a spacious venue, Citation is a good shout for premium spirits – it’s Christmas, treat yo’self – while The Raven stocks a range of UK craft ales and great value house wine.
Out West, Inn Deep serves up cask, keg and bottled craft beer, with
Deciding which bars to go to on your office night out can be tricky. Luckily, Edinburgh has plenty of options to keep your co-workers satisfied.
If you’re after some uptown swank this Christmas (not the funk that Bruno Mars sings of) your best bet is to head into New Town, where you’ll find a wide range of cocktail joints and a selection of suitably stylish bars.
One such place is The Bon Vivant on Thistle Street, which is known for low-lit ambience and a solid cocktail menu. Also in the neighbourhood is 99 Hanover Street; the bar boasts a wide range of wines, spirits and beers, and if you’re after something a little more personal, you can choose from a range of table packages featuring a selection of bevvies, which range in price from £15–£100 each.
For soft lighting (read: candlelight), try Bramble on Queen Street. One of Edinburgh’s worst-kept secrets, this below-street-level is bar is best for smaller groups, since the layout is basically all nooks and crannies. There are 22 lovely cocktails to choose from, and the well-trained staff will no doubt be on hand to help you figure out which concoction is
Stuart Muir is Executive Chef at Edinburgh’s newest dining destination, Dine with Stuart Muir. As the youngest Scottish chef ever to be awarded a Michelin star and three AA rosettes, Stuart has led a distinguished culinary career including positions at landmark Scottish venues Knockinaam Lodge, The Balmoral Hotel, Malmaison Hotel and The Old Course Hotel, St Andrews as well as tours in Canada and France. Firmly etching his name in Scottish gastronomy was 13 years at the helm of Harvey Nicols’ award-winning Forth Floor restaurant, bar and brasserie.
Recognised as one of the country’s most established chefs, Stuart has spent his career dedicated to producing exciting dishes from the very best of locally sourced produce, culminating in his most anticipated venture Dine by Stuart Muir.
I’m planning a Christmas meal and want to offer a couple of unusual twists. What would you suggest?
A great place to start is to surprise with sides. There’s no Christmas dinner without Brussels and the perfect accompaniment to your show-stopping turkey are gently roasted Brussels sprouts in sage and onion butter, sprinkled with garlic crisps for extra punch. For dessert, keep it mouth-wateringly simple with Pain per du with cinnamon
Milk co-owner and chef Mattocks spruiks the humble cauliflower and shares her Christmas food secrets
I’m planning a Christmas meal and want to offer a couple of unusual twists. What would you suggest?
I always make a side dish of French beans with orange zest, toasted hazelnuts and nut oil. This is great because you can prepare it in advance and serve at room temperature. If I am serving roasted root vegetables I like to glaze them with raspberry vinegar. It just gives them a little extra zing and makes the flavours stand out.
It’s Boxing Day and I’ve got half a turkey uneaten. Any recommendations for some legendary leftovers?
I always make risotto with leftover chicken or turkey. I would make mine with roasted squash, sage and leftover toasted chestnuts.
Which dishes on your Christmas/December menu do you most like cooking?
We always have a hearty and healthy vegetarian dish on our menu during the winter months. This year we are planning to have a black dhal with sweet potatoes and coconut chutney – a really soothing and nutritious dish to rival the December excesses.
What do you reckon is
The best food and drink to rise to prominence during Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink
The range of products in Scotland’s national larder becomes more diverse and enterprising as each year passes. It’s a sign that the various strands of our reawakening food and drink culture are converging: a growing awareness of the possibilities of local food and drink, the viability of small businesses with a good product and a smart marketing eye, the support of local produce by more and more bars, cafés and restaurants and the encouragement of public bodies (not least Scotland Food & Drink, the group who have driven this past Year of Food & Drink). Above all, however, it’s a sign of confidence that the food and drink we grow, brew and make is at least the equal of what’s made elsewhere; that just as we can shake off a cultural cringe, we have the ingredients to shake off the culinary cringe too. So, as a way of concluding the year, we’ve picked out half a dozen products that have caught our eye as examples of the best of the country’s new food and drink.
Plan Bee’s Honey Beer
From the Scottish Chocolatiers Network to free whisky region guides
Scotland is packed with innovative producers and food and drink that tells a story. December is the perfect time to celebrate some of the country’s most exciting cuisine and complete your Christmas dinner with local produce.
Chocolate might not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about Scotland’s natural larder but there are around 70 independent and artisanal chocolatiers thriving in all four corners of the country, perfect if you’re looking for that after-dinner treat. Although cocoa isn’t grown here in Scotland, chocolatiers go to great lengths to source fairly traded, good quality beans and it’s what goes into the chocolate that gives it a uniquely Scottish twist. Created in cooperation with the Scottish Chocolatiers Network, you can find stockists or follow the trail using the Chocolate Larder map.
The A–Z of Winter in Scotland is VisitScotland’s free guide to things to see and do in Scotland this winter. From ceilidhs to craft fairs, pudding to eating out, there’s enough to keep you busy right through to spring. Download the guide now.
Beat the winter chill with a warming dram of
Get your beer on at festivals in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow
Highland festival North Hop is leaving its home town of Inverness to bring the delights of craft beer and craft spirits to cities across Scotland. Offering a mix of beer, cocktails, street food and live music, the festival will visit Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and a Highland city yet to be announced.
Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms is the first venue on the tour. Here guests can enjoy a variety of beers from 13 Scottish breweries including Stewart Brewing, WooHa, Windswept, Fallen, Drygate, Tempest and new kid on the block, Edinburgh Beer Factory. There are also cocktails to sample, with 10 Dollar Shake, Solid Liquids and Bijou Wine mixing it up in the cocktail lounge.
North Hop Edinburgh will feature several exclusive drinks: Stewart Brewing has created a limited edition craft brew, Moscow Mule Saison, inspired by the traditional vodka cocktail, and Leith based Electric Spirit Co will debut a small-batch gin, available only at the festival.
To soak up all that booze, El Cartel are on hand with Mexican street food, Aye Love Real Food will serve up Scotch eggs and there are seasonal Scottish-sourced
If you’ve been wondering how to tell your curds from your whey, Edinburgh International Science Festival cheese expert Paul Thomas has got you covered
Cheese, surely one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Imagine a world without it. French culture, actually all culture, would be stifled; many of the world’s most beloved dishes would be defunct or non-existent; and the Mighty Boosh would never have met Tommy Nookah. What’s more, Stone Age peoples would never have produced enough calories to survive over winter in northern climes, so Scotland wouldn’t be what it is. Cheese has fundamentally shaped our landscapes and societies, so, as great achievements go, it’s definitely up there. But, how much do we know about it?
We have been making it for thousands of years but when you consider it, cheese is pretty mysterious. A blend of milk, microbes and salt produces everything from banal block cheddar to complex roqueforts and reblochons. Three ingredients, yet infinite variety. There’s no constant; everything from the colour, texture, shape, density, weight, smell and taste, are mutable. How many foods can boast of such variety? There are no commonly eaten mouldy versions of bread. You don’t see much in the
How a farm steading near Jedburgh is blossoming into a focal point for a regional food and drink in the Scottish Borders
Beyond its utility as a commuter option and a novelty route for trippers, the new Borders Railway is also a big flashing arrow aimed at Central Belters mostly ignorant of what the region to the south has to offer.
Some excellent Borders’ food and drink might front up at various stalls on Castle Terrace of an Edinburgh Saturday morning, but there’s a good deal more than that happening in situ. Take Born in the Borders, a converted farm steading on the banks of the River Teviot that started life in 2011 as a brewery using barley grown on its surrounding Chesters estate. Alongside there’s now also a tasteful gift shop, a farm shop/deli well-stocked with local artisan produce (which here extends, naturally, into northern England) and an assured café which on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings converts into a restaurant dining space with serious intentions.
It’s an artful duality only a few places pull off successfully. Solid and smart by day, by night the predominant chic is of rough stone and chunky wood,